Friendships

The importance of Christian friendships In this age where secularism is on the rise, and materialism has become a major distraction from spiritual pursuits, Christian friendship has never been more important. The pursuit of personal fulfillment, entertainment, worldly pleasure, and the acquisition of material goods, has become the dominant theme of our age. Families that once placed the life of…

Sharing Our Faith

Sharing the truth in a world devoid of hope If you wish to share the truth of the Orthodox Faith, and Christ Who is her head, you must give witness to the love of Christ by loving everyone. Without Christ, Orthodoxy is just another religion, devoid of the power to transform and deify the human heart. Without Christ the Church…

Hammi: The Norwegian Forest Cat

Our pets are gifts from God Every evening I try to spend an hour or so in the library, sitting in front of the fire place. Our beloved Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, sleeps in the library/community room every night. Hammi is most happy when the entire monastic brotherhood is gathered together with him. He’s an important member of our community,…

The Whole

All of God’s creation is to be redeemed and glorified “I do not worship matter, but the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation (Saint John of Damascus)”. Unlike angels, who are entirely spiritual beings, God has made each of us as creatures dwelling in a…

The Three Disciplines

Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving Jesus Christ called for a thorough conversion of our heart and mind, and a complete turning away from the old man (our fallen nature). The main act that begins this conversion is metanoia, which means thorough change of mind.  This happens when we become aware that we have sinned, and that we are in need of…

Mercy and Love

Where the temporal and the eternal connect We can be rich in liturgical correctness and wealthy in traditions, but if we do not have love and mercy, we are in reality bankrupt. Our Lord Himself made love and mercy the chief criterion whereby we will be judged on the Last Day. The fulfillment of the law is love, not liturgical…

Lay Monasticism

Turning the commute into a monastic cell Over the past thirty-five years, I have lost count at the number of lay people who have voiced interest in monasticism. Many have told me, had they’d become Orthodox at a younger age, they might have forgone marriage, for the monastic life. These were not people who were unhappy with their spouses, or…

Embrace the Prodigal Son

We must be quick to embrace the prodigal son Some people abandon themselves to sin in order to cover up their lack of self esteem. In their need for intimacy and acceptance, they seek out worldly pleasures, thinking these will fill the void that has kept them from happiness. In their desperate search for love, they are unable to form…

Ascetic Struggle

Living our lives in total commitment Christianity is a religion of asceticism, instructing us to store up our treasures in heaven, where the benefits have eternal value. Throughout the New Testament we read of the importance of struggle, where focus on the acquisition of a humble and contrite heart is paramount to what it means to be a Christian. The…

The Seen and the Unseen

The limits of human reason and the knowledge of God There is the seen, and there is the unseen, the material and the immaterial. That which is material can be scientifically examined and experienced, the immaterial can only be seen and experienced spiritually. These are two worlds that are only seemingly at odds with one another. If you attempt to…

Faculties of the Human Soul

The rational faculty and the noetic faculty The human soul has two faculties, the rational faculty and the noetic faculty. Through the rational faculty we relate to the world with our physical senses, but through the noetic faculty we have communion with God. Faith is found in one’s heart, not in one’s mind. Those who depend only on the mind will…

Chaplains

Manifesting God’s love in the midst of tragedy I’m in Cannon Beach, Oregon, to attend the Northwest Regional Training Seminar for the International Conference of Police Chaplains. I’ve been coming to this conference, held in February of every year, for about fourteen years. I am grateful to God for all the friendships I’ve formed with other chaplains during these many …